CHICAGO — The city’s first responder agencies joined together to highlight water safety after three separate water emergencies in Lake Michigan have left three dead, one in critical condition, and a fourth missing.
The Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Fire Department held a joint media availability Thursday at Olive Park to “discuss water safety on the lakefront, specifically the ‘Playpen’ considering recent drownings that have occurred,” according to a press release.
Chicago Police and Fire say there have been several incidents in a short time, which is out of the ordinary. It’s why police and fire officials say they are stressing safety on the water.
Since Wednesday, three people have died, one person has been critically injured and another is missing.
Early Thursday morning, 38-year-old Francisco Gonzales was pulled from the water near Montrose Beach and died at the hospital. Wednesday evening, near Navy Pier, WGN News learned that someone passed out on a boat and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. A second person from that boat is still missing in the water.
Another man was found in the water near 37th Street on Wednesday, although police and fire have few details about what occurred.
Also Wednesday morning, 43-year-old Luis Vera was pulled from the lake and died after he slipped and fell into the water near Diversey Harbor.
These incidents come after the boat accident at the playpen over the weekend that critically injured two women.
Chicago police Lt. Tony Mendez spoke about the dangers of the water and urged caution.
“Too many boats, too many swimmers and people have not respected the water the way they should,” Mendez said. “One of our grim responsibilities is to recover bodies after they have drowned. We don’t want that to be you or one of your loved ones.”
Police and fire reminded boaters to ensure everyone had life jackets, never swim alone, and don’t drink and drive.